Car Basics For Dummies

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Tips

This entry marks the start of a new series on the basics of how cars work. Now, I drove for a long time before I learned how an engine works. Phrases like “blew a gasket” and “torque converter” might as well have been old Icelandic sayings. Looking under the hood of my car felt a bit like looking at a bird’s nest or a Rorschach blot: oh, that’s interesting …I wonder what that could be?

The powerful engine

Why did I never bother learning about cars? First, no one in my family is really a “car person,” so I didn’t have a parent or older sibling who could teach me. Second, the mechanical complexity of a car seemed both boring and intimidating. Finally, it just didn’t seem important.

Now that I am a more enlightened driver, however, I realize that knowing about how a car works is worth the bit of effort and time it may take to understand some of the mechanics. Even those of us with only the haziest recollections of high school physics can still grasp the fundamentals of how a car functions. Knowing this not only gives you a greater appreciation for the mechanical marvels contained in your car, but also equips you with basic vocabulary and diagnostic tools that will come in handy should something go wrong with your car. Having a greater awareness of how my car works also helps me to take better care of my car and to be a better driver. I feel more secure behind the wheel now that my car seems more like a mechanical marvel and less like a complete mystery.

In the following series of posts, I’ll explore, in very basic terms, the rudimentary functions of an average car. These entries are designed for those with little or no mechanical expertise and knowledge of cars. I’ll follow up each explanatory post with one about basic maintenance and common problems associated with that car part. As it stands now, this series will cover the following areas:

Engine – Part 1 and Part 2

Transmission—manual and automatic

Drive train—brakes,( Part 1 – Braking Basics;  Part 2 –  Disc and Drum; Part 3 – Power and Antilock),  differentials, tires, steering (Part 1 and Part 2)

Accessories—heating and AC, fuel gauge and odometer, cruise control

If there’s a topic you’d particularly like to see featured that isn’t on this list, post a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

|

Customer Reviews

Defensivedriving.com has a ShopperApproved rating of 4.7 based on 95453 ratings and reviews.

Cesar
Easy and simple to use.
Roope
Quick, fast and easy!
Diana United States
The course was very helpful and easy to follow. I highly recommended for anyone
Adrian United States
Easy and fast
Allison United States
Easy, simple course!
Brynwyn
Quick and easy!
Kimberly
Straight to the point, easy to navigate site.
Norma United States
The course will be quick and convenient to take from home.
Christina TX, United States
I would recommend you all to everyone over all the other course sites. There are no hidden fees, easy to navigate and same day certificate and driving record. Fantastic!!! Thank you!!
Barbara
Fast and easy
Travis TX, United States
It was quick and easy
James TX, United States
Very simple and easy to follow.
Thomas
So easy to use!
Alexandra
Easy to sign up!
Raylan
Fast & Easy
Jason
Quick and easy.
Ronda United States
Clearly the system is set up for dismissing a ticket not so much for insurance discount. I had to call customer service and have them walk me through the process.
Alejandro
Quick and easy
Mohammed TX, United States
Learned so much, very easy and simple way to become better driver
Michael
Website is easy to navigate
Ricardo
Everything is smooth and efficient
Shanna
Its easy to use!
See all reviews on shopperApproved.com
Why DefensiveDriving.com
  • 20 Years in Business
  • Over 2 Million Customers Served
  • Highest Possible Better Business Bureau Rating
  • Award Winning Course